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Soaring Renewables Displace Fossil Fuels in Europe’s Power Mix

Surging solar and wind electricity output displaced one-fifth of the European Union’s fossil-fuel power generation between 2019 and 2023, energy think tank Ember has said in a report cited by Reuters.

Between 2019, when the current European Commission took office, and last year, wind and solar power generation soared by 46%, according to the report.

Capacity installations surged by 65% during that period, with wind power up by 31% to 219 gigawatts (GW) and solar capacity more than doubling to 257 GW, the report found.  

The rising share of solar and wind capacity and generation are displacing fossil fuels.

In April 2024, for example, the EU saw a record-low power generation from fossil fuels and a record-high share of renewables in the electricity mix, Ember says. In April, fossil fuels produced less than a quarter of EU electricity for the first time, while the share of renewables, at a record-high for a single month at 54%, was boosted by wind and solar and a recovery in hydropower compared to April 2023, when droughts had diminished the hydropower share of generation.

Generation from fossil fuels in April 2024 fell by 24% from a year earlier. As a result, EU fossil generation reached its lowest monthly level, at 46 TWh.

Both coal and natural gas power generation fell sharply. Coal generation provided 8.6% of the EU’s electricity mix in April 2024, its lowest share ever, while gas-fired generation made up 12.1% of the electricity mix, its lowest share in at least eight years, per Ember’s data.

The national targets of the EU member states are nearing the levels needed to meet the bloc’s REPowerEU targets, “but a further push is needed to close the remaining gap and accelerate deployment,” Ember analysts wrote in a report last month.

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According to the think tank, renewables are on track to generate 66% of EU electricity by 2030, up from 44% in 2023. But this would fall short of the REPowerEU target of 72%.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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